Clean, cool and green, is how the company is selling the new technology. Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning plans to take deep ocean water through pipes that will chill the city's downtown high rises.
The plan calls for driving about 100 piles about a quarter to a half mile offshore.
"The piles are intended to secure the pipes to the floor, and it’s in a surf zone where the pipe is subject to movement," said Seawater Air Conditioning CEO Eric Masutomi.
The activity may cause vibrations which could affect marine life, like dolphins and whales.
The National Marine Fisheries Service issued a permit to cover the inadvertent taking or harassment of marine mammals. The permit runs through next year, but the company will not start any ocean work until after peak whale watching season.
The company will be required to have marine mammal scientists on board to monitor the impact on a number of species.
Masutomi said the project's Environmental Impact Statement is expected next month, as is a decision from the State Health Department to begin the ocean work.
So far, the company has contracts to cool four downtown businesses.
The Hawaiian Electric Company is one of the early signers, along with First Hawaiian Bank.
Two other major players are in the mix: Finance Factors on one end of Bishop Street and Waterfront towers on the other end of Kakaako.